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It seems like improving an airplane seat is the 21st century version of the quest to build a better mouse trap, and with every month comes a new gallant attempt. This time it’s All Nippon Airways that is looking to create a game changer, and for their latest idea they’re tapping the seating surface know-how of another group: the car-making folks over at Toyota.
We suddenly have visions of stretching out in our own little version of an in-flight Camry or Corolla — but unfortunately, that’s not exactly what’s happening here. According to Flightglobal, to dream up this new design ANA is partnering with Toyota Boshoku — which is sort of a company within a company that focuses on creating auto interiors and components.
Seats / LCCs / Wow Air / Europe Travel / A321 / Iceland Travel / KEF / BOS / BWI / → All Tags
BTW - he's sitting in a "L" seat
We've spilled a lot of ink (virtual ink?) when it comes to talking about the ultra-low-cost carrier Wow Air. Wow, based in Iceland, has been flying since 2012 between Reykjavik and Europe, but only recently extended their insanely cheap flights to the U.S., with flights to Boston and, coming soon, Baltimore-BWI.
Some of their promotional fares, like $99 from Boston to Europe via Reykjavik, do seem unbelievable, but having flown Wow before, we bought, and recently flew, one of their new U.S. routes. The full review will follow, but for now we'd like to address one of the most confusing aspects of the booking experience: which Wow seat to choose?
Economy Class Travel / Airbus / A380 / Seats / AIX / Bad Ideas / → All Tags
We've got good news and bad news to share from the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) this week, in Hamburg, Germany.
First, let's get the bad news out of the way. Airbus showed off a new seating option for airlines to try in their A380s: 11-across in economy class. That means 11 seats in one aisle, arranged 3-5-3, with so many middle seats it'll make your head spin.
The good news is that no airline has ordered the 11-across layout (yet), so it's safe to say this isn't something you need to worry about encountering when trying to chose a seat on your next superjumbo flight.
The real issue the general press is failing to understand with this configuration isn't the how-horrible factor of being faced with more middle seats, but how nasty all of a sudden the window seats become.
You know that moment when you're deep into a long-distance journey and you just cannot get comfortable enough to sleep? And you'd do just about, or pay just about anything for some sort of bed, or sleep support for even a few hours of life-rewewing sleep? Well, Boeing may have a little something for you.
GeekWire touches on the company's newest patent (issued March 24), one which would "solve the common problem of trying to sleep hunched over to the side or straight up." The solution? An all-too-simple addition of a "backpack-like" device which snaps into your seat and provides a front support for a passenger's head and chest, to allow for a forward leaning sleeping position.
Naturally it has a super fun name, too: "Transport Vehicle Upright Sleep Support System."
Airline News / Seats / Premium Economy Class Travel / Singapore Airlines / Singapore Travel / A380 / A350 / 777 / → All Tags
So you may have heard that Singapore Airlines is all set to finally introduce a Premium Economy Class to their planes, but did you know that airfare to travel in the new seats is already on sale?
Set to fly as soon as August 9, 2015 on the Singapore-Sydney A380 SQ route first, Premium Economy is an $80 million investment by the airline. It will be considerably less expensive than that for travelers to enjoy, of course. K
Kicking back in one of the fresh, leather seats situated between Economy and the premium classes on Singapore's A380s, 777-300ERs, and brand-spanking-new A350s begins at $2,100 roundtrip on the Los Angeles - Singapore direct flight, and $2,230 on the New York-JFK - Singapore direct.
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We had the chance to fly with SWISS Airlines from Zurich to Montreal in Business Class not so long ago and all we can say is that we wanna do it again.
Aside from the tasty food and good service, their new international biz class seat has it all going on. Done in a stylish grey tartan and light wood, it’s a generous size for generous hips, becomes a 6’7” lie-flat bed and has a spot to plug in your electronic gadgets. We liked the fact that each seat has a large side table that not only gives you separation from your neighbor, but can hold all of your books, mags, water, wine, headphones and No Jet-Lag tablets (we do like to spread out!). If you’re traveling solo, have a good look at the seating chart when you’re selecting your seat: Some of the single window ones have not one, but two tables per seat. You’ll feel like you’re King (or Queen) of the Universe.
Besides the expected array of movies and music that is part of the in-flight entertainment system is the unexpected ability to use the screen to view your own stuff from your cell or iPad. The system is controlled by a convenient handset that you can, as well, leave handy on that large side table.
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This is the week! From January 15, the brand-spanking-new Airbus A350 begins regular commercial flights and welcomes passengers to the enjoy everything Airbus has been working on since 2004.
As far its place within the range of the newest aircraft out there, the A350-900 is larger than a 787-800, smaller than an A380, and due to replace the A330 for some of the airlines adding it to their fleets. It costs $295 million each, and there's some 700 orders on the books for the plane. With those numbers, more and more travelers will soon find themselves walking down the jetway to board a plane they've never before experienced.
And what an experience. Thanks to technology, modern materials, and a refreshing re-focus on passenger comfort, the Airbus A350 is about to silence many of the most common complaints in air travel. Here are just a few:
New Airplanes / Airbus / A350 / A350-900 / Qatar A350 / Qatar Airways / Qatar Travel / Doha Travel / DOH / Travel Tech / Seats / Economy Class Travel / Business Class Travel / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
It's not every day that an airline welcomes an airplane so new that no one else has it yet. That was, however, the case this week as Qatar Airways celebrated the arrival of the first Airbus A350. Come next week, anyone can fly on the plane and, with over 700 orders for the aircraft (80 just from Qatar Airways), this will hardly be the last you'll hear of it.
Why is Qatar Airways’ A350 so special? Put quite simply, the airline has it first. The A350 rolled off the runway at Airbus’ Toulouse factory to land at Doha and begin its service, as Qatar Airways is the “Global Launch Customer” for the type; they’re debuting the plane, setting the bar, and offering an experience unavailable anywhere else.
In addition to its body of advanced materials and engines that are the cleanest yet, the Airbus A350 also brings onboard humidification systems (no more dry eyes and skin!), an air management system that filters the entire cabin of air every 2-3 minutes, improved cabin temperature levels (no more “too hot” or “too cold”), and seats designed specifically for Qatar Airways and their heightened standards for both luxury and comfort.
Speaking of the seats...
First Class Travel / Celeb Travel / Paris Hilton / Instagram / Emirates / DXB / Seats / Social Media / → All Tags
3.5 million people looked at photos of Emirates First Class this week and it's all thanks to Paris Hilton.
Jetting through Miami, Dubai, India, and Los Angeles to play DJ gigs and make appearances in support of her eponymous fashion and fragrance lines this week, Hilton alleviated her in-flight boredom by planning her next photo op. Five times over the course of these travels she managed to post Instagram photos of herself enjoying the comfort of the premium class, and she's quickly becoming a champion for the airline, whether official or not.
Paris has made a habit of documenting her travels via Instagram, posing in her First Class seats when she flies commercial or opting for a full vogue next to the plane when flying private.
These images are immediately shared with her legion of followers, and average over 40,000 "likes" each. Her followers may not be subscribers of Robb Report, but they are young and impressionable, and images of aspirational travel are both memorable and an easy "like."
Considering a single tweet of hers praising the airline in 2009 (to only ~200,000 followers at the time) was valued at $1.5 million five years ago, we shudder to think of a possible valuation for her recent Instagrams, of which there have been five in one week (one a video tour of the First Class cabin).
Airline News / Seats / In-Flight Comfort / Hawaiian Airlines / Hawaii Travel / Airlines / → All Tags
Be sure to stretch out those legs before hopping between islands on your next trip over to Hawaii, as Hawaiian Airlines is changing up the seating structure on the planes serving the inter island routes.
In the trend of most other airlines, Hawaiian Airlines is ordering up slimline seats, and as a result they’re hoping to squeeze in about 10 more passengers per plane. The thinner cushions should allow up to 128 passengers per jet—aboard the Boeing 717s—if you’re keeping count.
Thankfully, America is finally having long overdue, tough conversations that bridge the gap between those who recline their airplane seats and those who (rightfully, IMO) shun them. But let’s not allow these discussions to distract us from another important issue:
Airline News / Checked Baggage / Economy Class Travel / JetBlue / Airline Fees / Southwest / Seats / → All Tags
What a week for Southwest Airlines! Yesterday, the only other airline than Southwest who doesn't charge a fee for your first checked bagJetBlueannounced that they would indeed begin charging fees on checked bags.
Bummer for JetBlue, as the change will be introduced at some point in 2015 along with new airfare tiers of service, but a boon for Southwest, who now claims the title of "the only airline where bags fly free."
Still, JetBlue flyers have no need to panic just yet. The baggage fees haven't yet been detailed with pricing (although industry standard is $25 for the first bag), the new fare tiers haven't been announced, and none of these changes will happen until some point in 2015.